Daily Dojo

I Am America

In 2003 NO SHAME THEATRE was going in New York City and I wrote a number of political sketches for it, which was a lot of fun for me (and for many others, so I’m told).

I wrote I AM AMERICA, performed by myself, Josh Peskay, Maggie Bell and Dan Brooks and it was done in No Shame Theatres across the country, and received its professional debut at City Theatre in 2005.

The original script is HERE.

I had no idea, of course, when I wrote this, that there would be both an African American candidate and a female candidate not too far in the future.

I Am America

CAST

Four people (can be male or female) designated thusly as –

AMERICA
LIBERTY
TRUTH
JUSTICE

I will admit that I’ve always thought of Liberty as female (something to do with the statue, I guess) and Justice as male (something to do with Judge Moore in Alabama) so that may come through in the dialogue a bit, but you should feel free to cast whatever sex, age or race of actor as you please.

You can give them signs or t-shirts to designate character or leave it up to the audience’s imagination in terms of their individual names.

NOTES –

The characters stand and address the assembly before them. I find that the piece works best when delivered like an upbeat “Rock The Vote” commercial or like what you see onstage at a typical Republican Convention but please experiment and see what works best for you.

This piece was developed and presented through No Shame Theatre (which allows artists to present new, unfinished work, without staging or memorization, in front of audiences) during the white-hot days of protest in New York right before the Iraq War. An early version of this script was subsequently presented through No Shame Goes To War, a non-profit protest against the war seen at theatre venues throughout the country.

I AM AMERICA received its professional world premiere in the summer of 2005 at The City Theatre in Miami, Florida, as part of their Summer Shorts Festival. J. Barry Lewis directed the production.

LIGHTS UP.

AMERICA
I am America, land of the free.

LIBERTY
And we only had to kill and subjugate four or five million Native Americans to do it.

TRUTH
It wasn’t completely free, I mean, we had to give some of the little buckskin-wearing buggers a bunch of shiny beads and whiskey, I think it set us back about three bucks or so, just for Manhattan alone. So it wasn’t THAT free.

JUSTICE
Land of the free, but not land of the free health insurance, that canker sore on your face, that’s going to cost you.

AMERICA
I am America, where all men are created equal.

LIBERTY
And women get to do the dishes.

TRUTH
America, where it took only two hundred years for a civil rights movement, a movement that met with much resistance, in fact there are people in office as we speak who still doubt that it was a good idea.

JUSTICE
In fact, some elected officials think that Strom Thurmond retired far too early.

LIBERTY
Even though he’s dead.

AMERICA
I am America, where the separation of Church and State is the law and freedom of religion is sacred.

JUSTICE
As long as you pagan pig-fuckers remember that we are one Nation, UNDER GOD, that’s what it says in the Pledge of Allegiance and don’t you fucking forget it. UNDER GOD.

TRUTH
You have the freedom to believe what you want as long as you believe in Jesus.

LIBERTY
And please keep in mind that Jesus was white, blond and blue-eyed.

JUSTICE
I don’t care where he was born, he’s the son of God, he had to be white, don’t give me any of this garbage that there weren’t any white people in the Middle East back then because I don’t give a good crap. America’s Jesus is WHITE.

AMERICA
I am America, where any child can grow up to be President someday.

JUSTICE
As long as he’s either a Republican or Democrat, reads the bible every day, comes from family money and attended an Ivy league school where he was able to achieve at least a “C” average, then he can be President.

LIBERTY
And as long as HE is a HE and not a SHE, then your child can be president.

TRUTH
Our corporate sponsors tell us that we’re not going to be ready for a female President for quite some time, HOWEVER, in forty or fifty years we could very well see a Jewish President (because they believe in God, too) or maybe, just maybe, even a black President.

LIBERTY
As long he or she only looks black, but is still able to think rich and white, i.e. Condoleeza Rice.

AMERICA
I am America, where every vote counts.

TRUTH
They do COUNT the votes.

LIBERTY
They don’t mean anything, but they do COUNT them.

JUSTICE
Your vote does count, unless one of the candidates is the son of a previous president who also ran the CIA and therefore knows where a lot of bodies are buried, than that counts more than your vote counts.

TRUTH
And if one of the candidates is related to a Governor of a swing state, then that counts more than your vote counts.

LIBERTY
And if one of the candidates happens to be VERY good friends with the guy that owns the machines that counts the votes all across the country, then that counts more than anything else counts.

AMERICA
I am America, where freedom of speech is guaranteed.

JUSTICE
Hey, it’s America, you can say what you want. Now shut the fuck up.

TRUTH
You can say what you want. Just be careful of what you’re saying.

LIBERTY
And who you’re saying it to.

JUSTICE
And don’t criticize our leaders, regardless of how badly they may read the teleprompter or how poorly they equip our troops.

TRUTH
And don’t burn the flag, let it touch the ground or turn your back on it.

LIBERTY
You can protest in America, just don’t protest about America.

AMERICA
I am America, and I support the spread of democracy around the world.

TRUTH
Except in Saudi Arabia, China, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Taiwan, Tibet, most of Central and South America and parts of Africa.

LIBERTY
And Texas.*

JUSTICE
We make too much money there to bother with democracy.

AMERICA
I am America, and I fight for those that cannot fight for themselves.

TRUTH
Except in Saudi Arabia, China, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Taiwan, Tibet, most of Central and South America and parts of Africa.

LIBERTY
And Texas.

JUSTICE
We make to much money there to bother with human rights.

AMERICA
I am America and I invaded Iraq to bring freedom to the Iraqi people.

JUSTICE
There was a lot of money being made there and we weren’t seeing one red cent of it. Not only that, that Saddam was an evil prick. He imprisoned, tortured and killed his own people.

TRUTH
He can’t do that to his people.

LIBERTY
Only we can do that to his people.**

AMERICA
I am America, and every citizen of America has the inalienable right to freedom, life and pursuit of happiness.

TRUTH
Unless you’re poor and you need health-care.

LIBERTY
Unless you’re a woman and you want equal pay and opportunities.

JUSTICE
Unless you’re a homo and you want to serve in the armed forces or get married.

TRUTH
Unless you’re neither a Republican or a Democrat and yet would still like to be represented by Congress.

LIBERTY
Unless you’re over the age of sixty-five and you need affordable prescription medication.

JUSTICE
Unless you refuse to believe in God.

TRUTH
Unless you’re eighteen years old, able to get drafted but not able to get a drink in a bar.

JUSTICE
Unless you suddenly find yourself classified an “enemy combatant”.

TRUTH
Unless you’re lacking in corporate sponsorship.

LIBERTY
Unless you’re in Texas.

AMERICA
I am America, and I am at War.

JUSTICE
We are fighting a war for our way of life.

LIBERTY
We are fighting a war for truth and justice.

TRUTH
We are fighting a war overseas to avoid having to fight a war here at home.

AMERICA
I am America and I am at War.

TRUTH
If we don’t fight this war, than sooner or later everyone is going to wonder why we haven’t caught the people responsible for destruction of the World Trade Center and we can’t have that.

LIBERTY
If we don’t fight this war, sooner or later everyone’s going to realize just how dumb and ineffective the guy sitting in the White House really is. Sooner or later mistakes our leaders made that cost the lives of Americans at home and abroad will have to be accounted for and we can’t have that.

JUSTICE
If we don’t fight someone else, then sooner or later we’re going to have to fight each other. And our corporate sponsors can’t have that.

TRUTH
We need this war.

LIBERTY
We need this war.

JUSTICE
We need this war.

TRUTH
War is a good thing.

LIBERTY
War is a good thing.

JUSTICE
War is a good thing.

AMERICA
I am America and I am at War.

BLACK OUT.

Footies:

* This sketch was presented in Austin, Texas, and I was told it was well received. So you can’t say Texans don’t have a sense of humor. At least those in Austin.

**The actor in the Florida production refused to say this line, so the piece was presented without that line. I agreed to let it go on, though I don’t know that there was really anything I could do about his refusal, other than pulling the play. I thought it better to let the show go on, especially as that City Theatre has been so supportive of my work and showed much courage in doing plays like this (and NEW TEXAS, OR NOW THAT THE WAR IS FINALLY OVER, PARTY ON) in Jeb Bush’s back yard.

In light of the torture our administration has since admitted, I believe that actor made a mistake in judgement by refusing to speak this line. But maybe it’s just me, heh-heh.

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